In November 2018, a scant four episodes into Season 2 of the beloved CW drama Dynasty, viewers got a rude shock. The much-loved character Steven Carrington, portrayed by James Mackay, was suddenly and unceremoniously removed from the show.
Actors getting written off soaps is not an uncommon occurrence, but what made it particularly jarring in this case was that the character wasn’t given any closure.
Over two years since then, Season 4 is all set to premiere on May 7. However, fans still haven’t forgotten about Steven. Fan forums are still abuzz with theories about what happened to the character, why James Mackay left the show, and whether Steven will return in Season 4. Let’s see what we know!
1. Is Steven Carrington Going to Return in Season 4?
On May 24, 2019, several months after James Mackay’s departure, former head writer Paula Sabbaga said in an Instagram post that Steven would return in Season 4 in a political arc.
“We finally pay off every single loose end from the past two seasons!!! …Except Steven’s political career. We’re saving that one for Season 4.”Paula Sabbaga, former head writer on Dynasty
However, there has been no recent update from the showrunners or actor James Mackay about Steven Carrington’s return in Season 4. If what Paula Sabbaga said in 2019 still holds, we might see James Mackay pop up as a surprise, or see him recast to be played by a different actor (the way showrunners did for the character of Cristal).
2. What Happened to Steven Carrington?
One of the reasons fans are eager for Steven to make a return is to reveal the dark secret of why he ended up being institutionalized in a psychiatric facility at the end of Season 1.
Steven and Fallon’s long-lost older brother, Adam, came back into the Carringtons’ lives years after being abducted as a child. From the get-go, he was focused on deceiving Steven.
Adam used the alias George Emerson, a character from Steven’s favorite book. He did this to get close to Steven, gained his trust, and got him to divulge the family’s history and secrets. He then convinced Fallon and Steven’s husband Sam that George was just an imaginary character in Steven’s mind, making him look insane.
Adam’s plan worked perfectly: Blake took him in and he became the favored child, while Steven ended up locked up in a psychiatric facility.
After this, James Mackay’s character Steven completely vanished from the show. Since then, the only mentions of him have been in passing during conversations between the rest of the Carrington family.
His storyline with his husband Sam was terminated in his absence 13 episodes later, with their divorce shown to be finalized while Steven is still institutionalized.
3. Why Did Actor James Mackay Leave Dynasty?
A few hours before Season 2 Episode 5 aired, James Mackay, who played Steven, posted a picture on Instagram. The picture showed him posing with co-star Elizabeth Gillies, who plays his half-sister Fallon Carrington on the show. Although he did not reveal details clearly, the post’s caption made it evident that he had not left the show willingly.
“All new #Dynasty tonight, but, yep, sorry to say without yours truly. While Steven had a choice to leave, unfortunately I didn’t. There’s a lot of decisions involved in making television, and sometimes they just don’t go your way and you have to live with it. So for now, all love and on we go. Hope you all enjoy the show. J xx”James Mackay
To this day, fans remain in the dark about why exactly James Mackay was removed from the show, and why his character was given such an abrupt ending. We didn’t even get to say goodbye to Steven!
4. What Happens if Steven Carrington Comes Back?
Thanks to Steven not returning, Adam’s true, devious nature and his hand in Steven’s fate have thus far remained hidden from the rest of the family. If Steven comes back, he could expose Adam for what he truly is, and the evil things he has done.
Based on what former head writer Paula Sabbaga said in the past, we might also get to see Steven explore a career in politics.
Dynasty is a prime-time television soap opera based on the 1980s series of the same name. It follows the lives of the Colbys and the Carringtons, two of the richest families in America. Their children fight for control over the company’s fortune, and the show reveals the dark underbelly of backroom deals that shape corporations.
The story unfolds primarily through two women at war, Fallon and Cristal, who are the daughter and fiancée respectively of Blake Carrington, owner of the Carrington Atlantic.
Dynasty was developed for The CW by Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, and Sallie Patrick.